I never graduated from college. It’s something I’ve considered a personal fault. You see… My heart hurts a little when people casually ask where Nate and I went to school. My first instinct, and what I usually reply, is The University of Tennessee. I went there my freshman year, and that’s where I gained some of those priceless “college experiences.” The rest, however, came when I packed up everything I owned and literally ran away from my troubles to join the Walt Disney World College Program. And who was in my passenger seat? Lorie. :)
Lorie has been there for me since the end of the ‘old me’ and beginning of the new. She’s seen me 10 floors below rock bottom and helped me not only hang on for dear life, but make it out alive. I never would have had the strength to move to FL without her, and she’s remained my rock for the past 8 years. :) We’ve had our ups and downs, but when push comes to shove, we’re always there for each other.
While Lorie was working full time and finishing up her degree, I was floundering around in school having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. When I finally stepped away to figure things out, this whole wedding photography thing kinda plopped on my lap. It didn’t take long for me to figure out this was the career I not only wanted, but needed. As perfect as everything turned out, though, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in myself for not finishing college. There was always a part of me that felt like that chapter of my life wasn’t done.
Then Lorie graduated. :) Even though I didn’t go through classes with her, or do the “hard” work if you will, I really felt like we were going through it together. In some weird way, as much as it was the end of that part of Lorie’s life, I also feel like it’s the end of that part of my life, too. I may not have taken the course in life my parents and I thought I would, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. My own path found me, and college degree or not, I’m SO happy and proud of myself. Isn’t that all that really matters, anyway?
Nate and I sat with Lorie’s fiance and parents in the very front of the arena, 3 rows up from the floor, and had perfect seats to watch Lorie get her (fake) diploma. :) (We also had the perfect seats for watching countless nervous graduates trip down the steps on their way off the stage! I no longer feel as embarrassed about falling down the steps at my high school graduation.) I was beaming with pride for Lorie and my eyes were stingy and watery through the whole ceremony, until they called her name and the tears wouldn’t stop. :) Lorie, I couldn’t be more proud of you. I love you so much. :)
If this isn’t proof they’re our best friends, I don’t know what is! I told Lorie I wanted a photo of her and Jon, and they immediately jumped into this. ;)
This one’s gonna be framed. :)
“Because I knew you, I have been changed… For good.” – Wicked